Saturday, 15, August, 2020

The General Prosecutor's Office announced the first results of a pre-investigation check in the case of the burst of Sardoba reservoir, which occurred on May 1, with, three causes of the disaster announced. Nine officials of the organizations involved in the construction of the reservoir are now facing charges as defendants and have been taken into custody.

The reservoir was built in 2010-2017, with 1.2 trillion soums contributed from the state budget for this, the Prosecutor General's Office noted. The reservoir is operated by the Authority for Use and Development of Sardoba Reservoir Facilities under the Uzbekistan Railways.

In May, the Prosecutor General's Office reported that the investigation considered the following possible causes of the disaster - design errors, non-compliance with construction standards, operational errors, and natural disaster.

The commission, including 30 experts in the design, construction and operation of hydraulic structures, specialists from the field of construction expertise, notably studied these hypotheses.

According to the experts opinion, the following factors were the reason for the burst of the reservoir dam:

Errors in design documentation

After the feasibility study of the project passed the necessary expertise and was approved, the design company, while preparing the project documentation, arbitrarily and unreasonably made changes to the ratio of the slope inclination, the protective and filtering coatings, which undermined the reliability and strength of the dam.

Flaws in construction

The density of the soil that formed the basis of the dam was below the design figures, and the soil itself was not cleaned from foreign objects, which led to their rotting and the formation of voids. The diameter of the stones laid on the protective surface was several times larger than the dimensions indicated in the design. The thickness of the stone layer was also less than the norm. In addition, the stones were laid unevenly and of poor quality, the voids between the large diameter stones were not filled with small stones.

Faults in operation

During operation, serious material and non-material shortcomings were also made. In particular, the Authority was not provided with the necessary material and technical base. Moreover, the qualification certification carried out revealed that 56% of employees did not have the necessary skills, 82% do not have the qualifications and experience. This led to the impossibility of high-quality operation of the dam and the timely detection of factors that could lead to a dam break.

Currently, nine persons involved in the above-named violations are now facing charges. These are officials of the customer - the state-owned Sirdaryo Suv Qurilish Invest, the design company - UzGip, the general contractor - Uztemiryulkurilishmontazh, the contractor - Rezaksoy Suv Qurilish, as well as Tupalang Sherobod, the Ministry of Water Resources and Operating Authority.

Criminal cases have been opened against them under Embezzlement, Abuse of Power, Official Negligence, Forgery in Public Office, Violation of Safety Rules for Mining, Construction or Explosive Works of the Criminal Code of Uzbekistan. They are now in custody.

In order to study the targeted use of the funds contributed from the state budget for construction, the Accounts Chamber has drawn up a commission that is now conducting an audit.

For a comprehensive and complete pre-investigation check, as well as taking into account the complexity and scale of the criminal case, the Prosecutor General's Office extended the period of the preliminary investigation by five months.

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